A gambit declined


The setting up of a pre-electoral alliance is a complex exercise. Alternattiva Demokratika recognised the strategic importance of forming pre-electoral alliances a long time ago – in fact, prior to the 2008 general election, it had (unsuccessfully) taken up such an initiative itself.

The actual result of the 2008 general election was so close that any pre-election alliance would have had a substantial impact on the final result. This was very clear in the polls commissioned and published in the run-up to that general election.  The difference in votes on a national level between the PN and the PL in the March 2008 general election was a mere 1580, with AD receiving 3810 votes first count votes.

When examining the possibility of forging a pre-election alliance there is generally a choice between two approaches to take: either a principle-based approach or a pragmatic one.

The principle-based approach for a pre-election alliance seeks a long-term view based on building bridges that can possibly withstand the test of time. A pre-election alliance based on principles is based on an agreed shared vision. Even if it is not all-encompassing, this can be easier for voters to identify with as it entails a positive proposal: the shared vision.

On the other hand, the pragmatic approach is one aimed solely at the desired result. It is arithmetically driven. It can signify the lumping together under one umbrella of all sorts of views with (possibly) a minimum common denominator.

The National Front pre-electoral alliance set up by Simon Busuttil and Marlene Farrugia  was, in my opinion, one of the latter. Not only did it include the Nationalist Party and the Democratic Party but also the fringe elements of the PN itself, which had previously been weeded out over the years as undesirables.

The National Front was a pragmatic exercise to the extent that an analysis of the actual votes cast clearly shows that the PD link with the PN resulted in no votes being added to the PN by the PD.  Some may argue, for example,  that votes cast for PD candidates in the fifth district (Marlene Farrugia’s home district),  helped the PN turning the tides on Labour by recapturing Labour’s fourth seat. This is not so, as the gain of an additional seat by the PN on the fifth district was exclusively due to boundary changes: the village of Marsaxlokk having been moved to the third district and it being substituted by the hamlet of Ħal-Farruġ from the sixth district.

The PN/PD alliance failed in its major arithmetic objective as it is clear that it failed to attract a significant number of disgruntled voters. Actually, it rather repelled them with its continuous negative messages and sent most of them back to Labour. Unfortunately, this failed attempt will dissuade any other attempt at alliance-building in the immediate future, as no political party enjoys being taken for a ride, as was Simon Busuttil’s party.

Declining the invitation to join  the National Front as an appendix to the PN  was the correct response from Alternattiva Demokratika. It was an exercise in foresight that has been proved right. Listening to “independent” journalists and self-centred intellectuals advocating the Busuttil/Farrugia National Front was a very sad experience, as these were the same people who should have taken the PN itself to task for its internal contradictions on issues of good governance. By endorsing the PN-led National Front, unfortunately, they ended up endorsing the PN’s misdemeanours when they should have been at the forefront of those insisting that the PN clean up its act before claiming any right to wear the suit of shining armour.

In another context, it was former PN Finance Minister Tonio Fenech who made the most appropriate statement earlier this week in the Malta Independent. Answering his own rhetorical question as to what the Nationalist Party stands for, Tonio Fenech replied: “The only true answer I can give is, I don’t know”.

And so say all of us.

published in the Malta Independent on Sunday – 18 June 2017


7 days


Well over 66% of AD voters in the 2008 general elections did not vote just for an AD candidate. Thereafter they voted for candidates of other parties as well.

Most AD voters already practice cross-party voting in general elections. They already cross over from one party to another when voting.

It is not only AD voters which practice cross-party voting. Even PN and PL voters do so although not as often as one would wish.

Our electoral system is specifically designed so that cross-party voting is possible. Voting across party lines can ensure that you select the best candidates in the different political parties. It is a very healthy political tool at your disposal.

After giving your number 1 to an AD candidate you can then proceed with giving your 2nd preference to any other candidate, irrespective whether he or she is on the PN or the PL list.

Similarly if your giving your number 1 vote to a PN or a PL candidate you may proceed with giving your 2nd preference to an AD candidate. It is a very useful way of voting. It has in fact been in use since 1921 when the present system of voting was introduced in Malta.

Cross party voting is a right. Use it well.

The PN’s new values


The PN, for many a year used to proclaim to one and all that all those who were aware of the existence of corruption and did not stand up to be counted were as a result supporting corruption.

It is on record that the former Private Secretary to the Minister of Finance has pleaded guilty in Court when charged with corruption.

When called to the witness stand, giving evidence against those who corrupted him, Noel Borg Hedley, Private Secretary to Minister Tonio Fenech stated that the monies he collected were used to finance the Hon Minister’s electoral campaign in 2008.

The Hon Minister in comments made to the press stated that he was not aware of the source of the finances used in his electoral campaign.

Malta Today reported as follows on 6 February 2012:

Noel Borg Hedley, 67, of Gzira – who last year was handed a permanent interdiction and conditionally discharged for three years after admitting to bribery – took the witness stand against his alleged ‘tippers’ and confirmed with Magistrate Audrey Demicoli that he received cheques and cash from the Montebellos as “donations” for activities connected to Fenech’s political campaign, but was later also “tipped” for his interventions with governmental departments which handled property tax matters. The Montebellos are denying the charges.

The Hon Minister made this statement notwithstanding that (according to his Private Secretary’s testimony)  it was he (the Minister) who gave him instructions as to whom he was to contact in order to be in a position to pay his electoral bills.

Five years on there are still a number of unanswered questions.

First : as the Hon Minister stated that he was not aware of the identity of those who financed his campaign, how did he collect the necessary information in order to submit the return required by electoral legislation as to the identity of those who financed him and the quantum of finance used, which as per his declaration did not exceed €1,400?

Second : on the basis of the conviction of his former Private Secretary as well as his testimony why did the Hon Tonio Fenech not shoulder his political responsibilities and resign?

Third:  once he did not resign does it not follow that the Hon Tonio Fenech considered that the way he  acted was honourable, so much that he deserved (in his view) to be elected Deputy Leader of the PN?

Fourth:  does it not seem that the PN is proud of Hon Tonio Fenech and the fact that he financed his electoral campaign with tainted money?  In fact the PN is once more presenting him as a candidate on 9 March general elections as one of the symbols of its new values!

 originally published in di-ve.com on January 4, 2013

amended at 13.46 , January 4, 2013 (added part in red)

L-Isptar San Filep: Frank w is-serjeta’ tal-Gvern

Fl-opinjoni tiegħi l-prezz miftiehem għall-eventwali biegħ tal-Isptar San Filep mhux wieħed kontroversjali. Tonio Fenech Ministru tal-Finanzi ftaħar fil-Parlament li l-prezz kien bargain. Qal nhar it-Tnejn li għadda illi n-negozjaturi għan-nom tal-Gvern kellhom struzzjonijiet biex jimxu ma’ l-inqas stima (dik tal-Fondazzjoni għas-Servizzi Mediċi) u lil sid l-isptar qalulu take it or leave it.

Frank Portelli sid l-Isptar permezz tal-ishma li għandu fil-kumpanija Golden Shepherd Group Limited  ftit seta jinnegozja minħabba l-istat finanzjarju ħażin tal-kumpanija. Kellu jaċċetta prezz baxx : 62% tal-istima oriġinali tal-periti tieghu.  Fil-fehma tiegħi l-isptar San Filep jiswa iktar mill-prezz miftiehem ta’ €12.4 miljuni. Imma dik m’hiex problema tal-Gvern, hi problema ta’ Frank Portelli li spiċċa kif spiċċa. Kien qiegħed jinnegozja minn posizzjoni ta’ djgħufija.

Uħud, anke f’kummenti fuq dan il-blog, jaħsbu li l-Gvern mexa b’favoritiżmu ma Frank Portelli minħabba s-sessjonijiet ta’ “qrar” li organizza bejn nagħaġ mitlufa tal-PN u l-Kap tal-PN f’Villa Arrigo qabel l-Elezzjoni Ġenerali tal-2008. Il-fatti magħrufa s’issa iżda, ma jippuntawx f’din id-direzzjoni.

Il-Ministru tal-Finanzi nhar it-Tnejn fil-Parlament ftaħar li l-istruzzjonijiet li kellu t-team ta’ negozjaturi  tal-Gvern kien li ma jiċċaqlaqx mill-iktar stima baxxa u jassigura li l-prezz tal-ftehim finali jkun tali li ma jkunx hemm diffikulta’ dwaru mal-Awditur Ġenerali u Public Accounts Committee. Naħseb li l-Ministru tal-Finanzi jaf daqsi li l-prezz hu biss wieħed mill-kriterji.

Fost il-kriterji l-oħra (kif imfisser f’artikli  oħra f’dan il-blog) hemm kemm ser jintlaħqu l-oġġettivi tal-proġett propost.

Meta nhar it-Tnejn fil-Parlament tkellem fuq il-permess meħtieg mill-MEPA biex l-Isptar jikber għall-ħtiġijiet li għandu l-Gvern, il-Ministru  Tonio Fenech wera li ma kellux idea x’ser jiġri!  Il-Ministru jaf li l-għan li l-Isptar San Filep ikun jista’ jikber għal daqs li joffri 280 sodda hu diffiċli ħafna li jintlaħaq.

Minkejja li l-iskop tal-proġett mhux ċar  jekk jistax jintlaħaq il-Gvern xorta ser jgħaġġel jiffirma. Fl-4 snin negozjati ma indenjax ruħu jippreżenta applikazzjoni. Kieku ilha deċiza u kien ikollu kollox bl-iswed fuq l-abjad. Daqstant hu serju l-Gvern!

Time 2BFrank

In-negozjati dwar il-bejgħ/kiri tal-isptar St Philip’s ftit li xejn hu magħruf dwarhom. Għax saru fil-kwiet u ħlief lejn l-aħħar ftit li xejn kien hemm paroli dwarhom. Hu diffiċli ħafna li issib informazzjoni. Imma ftit sibt ukoll.

Nhar l-4 t’Ottubru 2012  t-Tribunal Għat-Talbiet iż-Żgħar taħt id-direzzjoni tad-Dottoressa Yana Micallef Stafrace tat deċiżjoni fit-talba numru 1515/2010 bejn żewġ kumpaniji: Icon Studios Limited (C 26538) u Golden Shepherd Group Limited (C 14949). Ta’ l-ewwel kienet rappreżentata mill-Avukat Ġeġe Gatt iben Austin Gatt. Tat-tieni rappreżentata mis-CEO tal-Isptar St Philip’s, t-Tabib Frank Portelli.

Il-każ kien dwar ammont żgħir (€1663.80) li Ġeġe ried lill-Frank iħallas ta’ xogħol fuq website li kien għamillu wara li kienu iltaqgħu u ftehmu dwar dan fil-Lukanda Westin Dragonara nhar it-23 ta’ Diċembru 2009! Id-deċiżjoni kienet favur Ġege. Frank kien ordnat iħallas l-€1663,80 bl-interessi.

Ta’ interess fid-deċiżjoni hemm dan il-paragrafu enumerat bin-numru 7 :

“Wasalna fl-1 ta’ Marzu 2010 ……………… u Dr. Portelli qed isemmi n-negozjati li kellu mal-Gvern li kienu ilhom għaddejjin għal-18-il xahar u li kien għadu jittama f’konkluzjoni.”

Mela issa nafu li in-negozjati bdew madwar sitt xhur wara l-elezzjoni ta’ Marzu 2008 u 18-il xahar wara (f’Marzu 2010) kienu għadhom għaddejjin.

In-negozjati bdew sitt xhur wara l-elezzjoni tal-2008.

Nafu x’kien l-impenn ta’ Frank fl-2008 f’Villa Arrigo jassisti lil Gonzi fil-ġirja tiegħu wara n-nagħaġ li intilfu!

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kolli l-Gvern għandu obbligu ikbar li jwieġeb ħafna mistoqsijijiet dwar l-isptar St Philips. Hemm bżonn ta’ tweġibiet ċari dwar kemm l-isptar St Philips jaqdi l-ħtiġijiet tad-Dipartiment tas-Saħħa u kemm ġew meqjusa sewwa l-alternattivi.

Fl-assenza ta’ tweġibiet ħadd m’għandu jagħti tort lill-ħadd li jikkonkludi li l-ftehim li jidher li huwa konkluż huwa ħlas minn fondi pubbliċi għall-ħidma f’Villa Arrigo fl-interess tal-Partit Nazzjonalista lejlet l-elezzjoni ġenerali ta’ Marzu 2008.

L-Awditur Ġenerali għandu jeżamina sew x’ġara.

Il-Parlament għandu bżonn jistenbaħ ftit!

Its time 2BFrank.

Is-Saħta tal-Mistra

Qatt daqs f’dawn l-aħħar jiem ma kien ċar li l-PN qed iġorr fuqu s-saħta tal-Mistra.

Il-proposta ta’ JPO biex jitkeċċa RCC mill-PN ma kienitx sostnuta minn provi li jiġġustifikaw tali azzjoni. L-istess tip ta’ provi li kienu meħtieġa fil-Parlament meta minkejja li ma kienux hemm il-mozzjoni ta’ ċensura dwar RCC xorta kienet approvat.

Jidher ċar li kull min miss mal-kaz tal-Mistra ta’ qabel l-elezzjoni ġenerali 2008 ma tistax tiġih waħda tajba.

“X’għamilt ħażin?” qal JPO lil Gordon Pisani f’diskursata bejniethom fil-presenza ta’ avukat meta sar magħruf li kien hemm kuntratt dwar l-art tal-Mistra u d-disco proġettat?

Kien ikun aħjar kieku Pisani wieġbu : “x’għamilt tajjeb?”

Sa dakinhar li faqqa’ l-każ tal-Mistra l-kredenzjali ambjentali ta’ JPO kienu tajba ħafna. Il-kampanja biex iwaqqaf is-simenterija taċ-Ċaqnu kif ukoll il-kampanja kontra l-miżbla (landfill) ħdejn l-Imnajdra kienu fost l-aħjar mumenti tiegħu. Tant li għal xi żmien kien deskritt bħal wieħed mill-politiċi bl-aħjar kredenzjali ambjentali f’Malta. Kien ingħata t-titlu ta’ The green politician of the year.

Issa minn persuna li ħadmet daqstant favur l-ambjent bilfors tistenna li qabel ma jieħu pass iqis sewwa. Jara l-impatti ta’ dak li jkun qiegħed jippjana b’mod iktar metikoluż minn ħaddieħor. Sfortunatament il-kuntratt li JPO kellu dwar il-Mistra u xtaq jaħbi (“mhux aħjar ma tkunx taf” qal lill-Pisani) juri li l-introjtu pekjunjarju kien l-iktar ħaġa importanti għal JPO.  Il-ħarsien dovut lill-Mistra skond dak li tipprovdi d-Direttiva dwar il-Habitats kien xi ħaġa irrelevanti.

F’dan kollu kien mgħejjun minn kultura ta’ irresponsabbilta fl-istrutturi tal-MEPA li qieset li ma kien hemm xejn ħażin filli żviluppatur jew persuna interessata fi żvilupp tiltaqa’ ma’ membri tal-Bord fil-magħluq, minn wara dahar kulħadd.

X’hemm ħażin?

Il-PN għażel li jipprova jgħatti dan kollu. Issa il-PN jeħtieġ li jħallas il-kontijiet talli ma kellux il-kuraġġ morali li jgħid li JPO żbalja. Irid iħallas il-kontijiet talli ipprova jpinġi lil JPO bħala l-vittma, meta l-vera vittma kienet il-komunita’, li suppost kellha MEPA biex tiddefendiha u minnflok kienet kompliċi ma’ JPO.

Kull min iċċappas mal-każ irid jerfa’ l-piż u jġorr fuq spallejħ is-saħta tal-Mistra. Anke RCC flimkien ma’ Gonzi u JPO għandu responsabbilta morali għal dak li ġara minħabba l-pariri li ta. Anke’ jekk kienu biss ta’ damage control.

Il-Partit Laburista li permezz ta’ Alfred Sant kellu l-karti f’idejh qabel l-elezzjoni tal-2008 tilef l-inizzjattiva minn idejh.  Sant iddeskriva lil JPO bħala morally and  politically corrupt. Imma s-suċċessur tiegħu m’għandux skrupli li jindiehes ma JPO u jipprova jinqeda bih. Huwa u jimxi b’dan il-mod Muscat qed juri li anke’ hu m’huwiex interessat f’servizz iżda f’logħba ċess. L-iskop aħħari  li jqarreb il-jum li jkun fil-gvern il-Labour, għal Muscat jiġġustifika kollox. Jiġġustifika kull mezz li jintuża. L-aqwa li jdgħajjef lill-għadu poltiku tiegħu.

Meta Muscat jimxi b’dan il-mod ikun qed juri għal darba oħra li m’hemmx x’tagħżel bejn il-PN u l-PL. Il-politika l-ġdida tagħhom hi nieqsa mill-valuri. Hi nieqsa mill-impenn favur dak li hu sewwa.  Huma interessati fil-maniġġi u fil-mossi: mhux daqstant dawk li jġibu lilhom il-quddiem, daqskemm dawk li jpoġġu lin-naħa l-oħra f’dawl ħażin.

Is-saħta tal-Mistra JPO raxxa ukoll fuq il-Labour.

Il-mozzjoni dwar RCC kien l-ewwel pass li deher.  Biha l-Labour ingħata l-opportunita’ li jidher kif fil-fatt hu: partit bla sinsla.

Il-PN ma jixraqlux ikun iżjed fil-Gvern. Pero’ il-Labour ma joffrix soluzzjoni. Għax minn ġot-taġen nispiċċaw fin-nar!

Qed ifakkruni f’Bobby Fisher

Il-ħidma tal-membri parlamentari JPO u Franco Debono kemm dik parlamentari kif ukoll dik extra-parlamentari qed issir tixbah iktar lil logħba chess milli ħidma fi ħdan partit li xi darba kien jissejjaħ demokristjan.

Mhux qed nirreferi għal logħba chess kwalunkwe iżda lill-logħba għaċ-Championship tad-Dinja li kienet intlagħbet f’Reykjavik l-Iżlanda bejn l-Amerikan Bobby Fisher u ċ-Champion tad-Dinja taċ-Ċess ta’ dakinnhar Boris Spasky fl-1972!

Iktar mill-logħba innifisha dakinnhar kienu interessanti l-manuvri u t-teatrin ta’ Fisher intenzjonat biex jikkundizzjona psikoloġikament lil Spasky.

L-intervisti u l-kummenti ta’ JPO u RCC f’dawn il-jiem jiena nħares lejhom f’dan is-sens.

M’għandix dubju li saru elf manuvra fil-PN biex jipposizzjona ruħu aħjar waqt il-kampanja elettorali tal-2008. Uħud minn dak li sar u intqal nafuh. Imma għad hemm ħafna iktar li għadu mistur, u probabilment jibqa’.

Li RCC hu strateġista ħadd m’hu ser jiċħdu. Avolja kien hemm drabi li għamel żbalji goffi ukoll. Imma huwa għandu l-vantaġġ li “sempliċiment” jagħti l-pariri. Id-deċiżjonijiet jeħodhom ħaddieħor!

L-uniku diskors “onest” fil-Parlament dwar il-mozzjoni biex ikun ċċensurat RCC sar minn JPO. Dan għandu jkun rikonoxxut. Hu biss ma qagħadx jistaħba wara subgħajh biex jgħid ir-raġunijiet veri għala RCC kellu jwarrab. Il-Labour ipprovda l-mezz, JPO għamel użu minnu. Probabilment li l-Labour kien jaf eżattament x’inhu jagħmel. Kienet mossa kkalkulata bi preċiżjoni u bl-intenzjoni speċifika li taċċellera d-diżintegrazzjoni tal-PN. Mhux għax JPO ser ikollu xi appoġġ intern, għax naħseb li mhux ser ikollu appoġġ l-anqas minn dawk li jaħsbuha bħalu dwar RCC. Jekk dawn humiex 10 jew iktar ma nafx. Imma diffiċli nemmen li kien hemm xi ħadd daqshekk baħnan li wiegħed appoġġ lil JPO b’SMS! Is-suwiċidju politiku ma tantx hawn min jieħu pjaċir jipprattikah!

Din hi l-qagħda illum. Tal-biki. Kellu raġun Lawrence Gonzi jgħid li l-esperjenza fil-Parlament tat-Tnejn tal-ġimgħa l-oħra kienet waħda tal-biża’. Jiena nżid li ħdejn dak li jidher fuq ix-xefaq, dak li ġara fil-Parlament hu biss taħmil id-dras.

Jiddispjaċini ħafna nara lill-PN jaqa’ f’dan il-livell.

Il-PN hu wara kollox il-partit politiku li jiena u ħafna oħrajn iddedikajna żgħożitna biex nimmilitaw fih. M’għandi l-ebda dispjaċir li għamilt hekk għax fiż-żmien li jiena kont attiv fil-PN dan kien l-unika tarka għad-demokrazija fil-pajjiż. Sfortunatament taħt l-Avukat Lawrence Gonzi illum il-PN sar jirrappreżenta affarijiet oħra. Flok tarka għad-demokrazija sar staffa għall-poter akkost ta’ kollox. Għax kieku ma kienx hekk l-elezzjoni ġenerali ilha li issejħet.

X’ser jiġri iktar ma nafx. Jidher biss li jiem il-PN u jiem Lawrence Gonzi huma magħduda. It-tmiem hu fil-qrib.  U ma jistax ikun hemm tmiem agħar minn dak li jidher fuq ix-xefaq. Kollass intern. Partit mibni fuq prinċipji sodi jiżviluppa f’tarka tal-inkompetenza u l-opportuniżmu. Dan kollu qed iseħħ għax il-PN għażel li jinjora l-egħruq tiegħu.

Il-Partit Laburista ilu li għamel l-istess ħaġa. Il-logħba ċess li l-Labour qed jilagħab b’JPO, Franco u Jesmond hi rebħa tat-tattika fuq il-prinċipji. Għal mument il-Labour qed isikket il-prinċipji u qed jitmexxa minn strateġija politika ibbażata fuq il-gwadann immedjat. Għad jiddispjaċih għax fi ħdanu l-Labour fl-eżerċizzju li għaddej minnu li jaċċetta lil kulħadd tefa’ iż-żerriegħa għal repetizzjoni ta’ dak li qed jiġri illum f’data mhux il-bogħod .

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu hu ċar li l-PN ta’ Gonzi ma tistax tafdah. Il-Labour ta’ Muscat ma joffrix alternattivi. Hu partit bla prinċipji li nesa’ l-egħruq tiegħu.

Jibqa’ biss Alternattiva Demokratika li b’wiċċha minn quddiem tgħid lil kulħadd li magħha kulħadd jaf fejn hu qiegħed. Għalina ta’ AD kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-Labour huma żbaljati għax kontinwament qed jirriduċu l-politika f’logħba ċess fejn l-iktar importanti għalihom hu min ikollu l-poter f’idejh.

Il-pajjiż jixraqlu aħjar.

Is-7 ta’ Ġunju : biex insarfu r-rieda popolari

Illum is-7 ta’ Ġunju infakkru ġrajja meta l-poplu Malti qam. Għolla rasu u l-irvell li irriżulta wassal għal l-ewwel Parlament Malti.

L-Ispeaker Michael Frendo din is-sena għamel diskors meqjus dwar il-ħtieġa li l-Parlament jiffunzjona dejjem aħjar.  Michael, kif ilni nafu għal iktar minn 50 sena, ħa bosta inizzjattivi kemm ilu Speaker. Bħala riżultat tagħhom il-Parlament mexa aħjar. Kien hemm xi okkazjonijiet fejn iffaċċa diffikultajiet bħal meta kien hemm min sema’ lil Justyn Caruana d-Deputata Għawdxija tivvota mod u mhux ieħor. Inċident li wassal biex ġie mwaqqaf il-proċess tal-Kumitat Magħżul tal-Kamra li kien qed jiddiskuti bosta materji ta’ importanza. Materji li ilhom jiġu diskussi imma jidher li qajla hemm rieda li jiċċaqalqu. Għalhekk, naħseb jien, ma l-iċken opportunita ikun hemm min iħoss l-utilita’ li jwaqqaf il-proċess.

Is-7 ta’ Ġunju 1919 wassal lil missierietna biex fl-1921 eleġġew l-ewwel Parlament Malti. Kien Parlament b’ħafna kuluri:  4  partiti fl-Assemblea Leġislattiva u 3 minnhom fis-Senat.

Iż-żminijiet inbidlu u l-Partiti tal-lum li qegħdin fil-Parlament għad għandhom ħeġġa kbira għar-rappresentanza  proporzjonali, imma din il-ħeġġa qegħda hemm biss sakemm teffettwa lilhom. Għalhekk bagħbsu l-Kostituzzjoni diversi drabi biex jassiguraw li bejniethom jaqsmu. Imma qagħdu attenti li jieqfu hemm.

Infakkar għal darba oħra li Alternattiva Demokratika ippreżentat proposta quddiem il-Kumitat Magħżul tal-Kamra biex dak li ġie mbagħbas fil-Kostituzzjoni mill-PN u l-PL flimkien, jissewwa’ . Biex ir-rappresentanza proporzjonali tkun tapplika għal kulħadd. Mhux għalihom biss.

F’Malta għandna sistema elettorali li f’Marzu 2008 ippremjat lill-PN b’siġġu parlamentari extra għall-1580 vot li l-PN kellu iktar mill-PL fl-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali. Imma l-istess sistema elettorali tagħmilha possibli li t-3810 vot li ġiebet Alternattiva Demokratika ma jkunux rappreżentati.

Dan il-PN u l-PL ma jridux jibdluh.

Il-proporzjonalita’ m’għandhiex tibqa’ privileġġ tal-PN u l-PL iżda strument biex tissarraf ir-rieda popolari.

Fuq dan il-blog tista’ tara ukoll is-segwenti :

17/09/2008 : Electoral reform

21/06/2010 :  AD protests in Court on discriminatory electoral legislation

23/06/2010 : AD discusses electoral reform with Speaker Michael Frendo

Just lip service and cold feet

                                             published Saturday August 13, 2011

The year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit held in June 1992. The Rio Earth Summit itself was held on the 20th anniversary of the 1972 UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which is credited with introducing the environment in the contemporary political lexicon.

In fact, it was as a result of the Stockholm conference that various countries started appointing an environment minister. In 1976, in Malta, Dom Mintoff appointed Vincent Moran as Minister for Health and the Environment. The emphasis at that stage was environmental health. His primary environmental responsibilities being street cleaning, refuse collection and the management of landfills in addition to minor responsibilities on air quality. The serious stuff came later when Daniel Micallef was appointed Minister for Education and the Environment in 1986.

In 1992, the international community met in Rio de Janeiro to discuss the conflicts between development and the environment. This was brought to the fore by the 1987 UN report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, headed by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The report, entitled Our Common Future, referred to as the Brundtland report, is generally remembered for its definition of sustainable development. Development was defined as sustainable if, in ensuring that the needs of present generations are met, it did not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit produced the Rio Declaration on the Environment, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Framework Convention on Biodiversity, the Statement of Forest Principles and Agenda 21. Each one of these assumed a life of its own, addressing various issues.

I think it is essential to focus on the relevance of Agenda 21, which was, way back in 1992, drafted to serve as a global action plan for the 21st century.

Agenda 21 emphasises that sustainable development is not spearheaded by economics. It does not seek to balance profits with other considerations. Based on respect for people and the planet in the carrying out of our activities, it links the environment with social and economic policy.

It is indeed regrettable that some countries, Malta included, loudly proclaim adherence to the objectives of Rio 1992 yet fail miserably in translating them into the requirements of everyday life.

It is necessary to reiterate that Malta, through its present government, has paid lip service to issues of sustainable development. The Environment Protection Act of 2001, now in the process of being superseded, had established a National Commission for Sustainable Development headed by the Prime Minister. This was tasked with the preparation of a National Strategy for Sustainable Development, which was finalised and approved by the commission in December 2006. It was presented to Cabinet, which approved it in the weeks prior to the March 2008 election.

Soon after the 2008 election, during Parliament’s first session on May 10, 2008, Malta’s President proclaimed on behalf of the government that its policies will be underpinned by adherence to the principles of sustainable development. We were then told that when formulating decisions today serious consideration would be given to their impact on the generations of tomorrow.

I doubt whether there was ever any intention to implement such a declaration. I am informed that the National Commission for Sustainable Development, which, in terms of the Environment Protection Act, is still entrusted with the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy, has not met since December 2006. Consequently, the procedures laid down in section 5 of the strategy as a result of which the different ministries had 18 months to prepare and commence the implementation of an action plan based on the strategy in their areas of competence were transformed into a dead letter.

The government has now gone one step further. It is formulating a National Environment Policy. This initiative has been undertaken by the same ministry responsible for issues of sustainable development – the Office of the Prime Minister.

From what is known on the contents of this policy it substantially duplicates the areas addressed by the National Sustainability Strategy. Consequently, it is discharging down the drains four years of discussions with civil society that had given the strategy its shape and content. It is clear that on the issue of sustainable development this government is very rich in rhetoric but when it comes to implementation it gets cold feet. It’s all talk, meetings, documents and consultations. And when a document is finally produced it is back to the drawing board to start the process for another one! This is lip service at its worst.

While the international community meeting in Rio in 2012 will take stock of its modest achievements in implementing the conclusions of Rio 1992 and its follow-up meetings, including those of Johannesburg in 2002, in Malta we are still awaiting a lethargic government to take the first steps.


Other posts on sustainable development during the past 12 months

2011, July 23                Living on Ecological Credit.

2011, June 5                 Government’s Environment Policy is Beyond Repair.

2011, March 5              Small is Beautiful in Water Policy.

2011, January 22        Beyond the  Rhetorical declarations.

2010, October 23        Time to realign actions with words.

2010, October 17        Reflections on an Environment Policy.

2010, October 3          AD on Government’s Environment policy.

2010, September 17  Lejn Politika tal-Ambjent.

2010, September 4     Environment Policy and the Budget.

2010, August 14          Thoughts for an Environmental Policy.

2010, August 2            Bis-serjeta ? Il-Politika Nazzjonali dwar l-Ambjent.